Virginia Drive to Strengthen
Virginias drive to raise student achievement by strengthening school leadership is earning additional funding from the Wallace Foundations State Action for Education Leadership Project (SAELP). The foundation is awarding a $600,000 Phase-II SAELP grant to the commonwealth to prepare principals and other school leaders for success in raising the achievement of students. The new grant will allow Virginia to move forward with strategies developed through activities funded by an initial SAELP grant of $250,000 awarded in 2001.
There is a clear link between strong leadership and increased student achievement, said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jo Lynne DeMary. This new leadership grant will help Virginia develop and retain principals, administrators, and superintendents who believe that all children can learn and achieve.
Virginia will use funds from the Phase-II SAELP grant to implement a series of breakthrough ideas to strengthen school leadership, including:
The recruitment, retention, and development programs funded by the Phase-II SAELP grant follow up on findings of studies conducted during Phase-I of SAELP and will help Virginia schools and school divisions develop and retain effective leaders during a period of increasing turnover in school offices and buildings. For example, a survey of practicing superintendents, deputy superintendents, associate superintendents, and assistant superintendents commissioned by the Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute (CEPI) of Virginia Commonwealth University revealed that 72 percent of the respondents planned on retiring or changing careers in three to five years.
The Virginia Department of Education has designated CEPI as the administrator of the commonwealths Phase-II SAELP grant. Funded activities will represent a collaborative effort involving department, CEPI, Governor Mark R. Warner, Secretary of Education Belle S. Wheelan, the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia, the General Assembly, and several school divisions, including Fairfax County and the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, and Roanoke. Virginia is one of 15 states participating in the second phase of the project, which supports the development and implementation of policies and practices that promote effective leadership for schools and school divisions.
The Wallace Foundation is an independent private foundation established by DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, the founders of The Readers Digest Association. Its mission is to expand learning by strengthening education leadership, improving after-school programs, and expanding participation in the arts. For more information on the foundation, visit www.wallacefoundation.org.